March 2, 2011

A visit to a toddler friendly library

Yes, I used TODDLER FRIENDLY and LIBRARY in the same sentence.  Shocking I know! I have been going to our local public library for a few months now in our city.  It's very small and not quite appropriate for my two toddlers.  I always got glares stares from the other school children and parents who were trying to work on homework.  The librarian always just gave me that annoyed  sympathetic  smile, as one or both of the Things were yelling about a book or just being the loud toddlers that they are.  The last time I was at that library Thing One and Thing Two had taken stacks and stacks of books out as I frantically tried to put them back as they were pulling them out.  Call it guilt, call it stress, call it a normal day at the local library.  I was on the other side of the book shelf when I heard the library page say "OH NO, those kids are here again" as he picked up yet another stack of books that was left out.  I felt tired, defeated, and just annoyed at the comment.  I vowed never to step foot in a library until the kids were old enough and quiet enough to be accepted  appreciative of it.

Two weeks had past since our last visit and Thing One came up to me after dinner "We go to library today?" *SIGH*.  He really missed the time we spent looking for books and then reading them at home. Thanks to Mommy Guilt I decided to give the library another try.  This time I thought we could go to the public library a city over.  This library was exceptional for someone with young children.  The children's library was upstairs, separate from the adult area.  So I was sure that we would not get those annoyed stares from the adults trying to read. 

Once upstairs I was pleasantly surprised.  The homework center was separate from the special section I discovered towards the back of the room.  As we walked to the back I could hear the screeches of young children and no one seemed to look over concerned.  As a matter of fact the librarian had a great smile and said hello.  She reminded me of many of the preschool teachers I had worked with before.  It was welcoming, something the Things and I hadn't felt from the librarian before.  Thing one was the first to go and explore the computer with child friendly programs.  The computer was just at their level and had a bright easy keyboard and child size mouse.  Thing Two quickly joined in the exploring of the computer programs.  Some programs had alphabet and number recognition, while others read books, or composed music from keyboard strokes.  
Thing One exploring an Alphabet recognition program

Even Thing Two could appreciate the colorful keyboard
Popping bubbles with Keyboard that made music.
There was also a great play area with blocks, puzzles, and puppets.  It resembled a school set up.  All the children's furniture was just their size, tables, chairs and soft sofas. There were also buckets and buckets of books.  No special order for the books, just board books strewn about in buckets, on tables.  No one was particularly picking these up or worried about where the books belonged. 

Figuring out a number puzzle

That's a guilty look.  Fun play house area.

So much to do.

My favorite part of the whole experience was the bathrooms were geared towards children and their was one adult bathroom.  I'm weird like that, child sized bathrooms, where I don't have to lift a child to wash hands, but can let them do it independently is a win, win situation for me.

I'm so glad that I found a library that works for us.  Neither of us were crying or throwing a tantrum (yes I do that sometimes).  It made the whole experience much more pleasant.  The things and I are on our way to story time geared for families tonight.  Stories, songs, movements, and an art project.  Great way to start off our literary experience together.
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